Encyclopedia Titanica

Julia Barry

Julia Barry
Julia Barry

Miss Julia Barry was born in Killeentierna, Currow, Co Kerry, Ireland on 16 October 1881 although would claim much younger ages throughout her life1.

She was the daughter of Michael Barry (b. circa 1830), a stonemason and farmer, and Julia, née Prendiville (b. circa 1840)2 who were married in Arderone, Co Kerry in May 1859.

The youngest of twelve known children, Julia's siblings were: Mary (b. 1860), Abigail (b. 1862), Johanna (b. March 1863), Catherine (b. 21 September 1864), Ellen (b. 20 June 1866), Michael (b. 30 November 1868), Thomas (b. 10 August 1870), Patrick (b. 14 January 1873), James (b. 10 May 1875), Edmund "Edward" (b. 4 November 1877) and Johana (b. 16 June 1879).

Julia first appears on the 1901 census, the last child living with her aged parents at house 4 in Killeentierna, Co Kerry and with no stated occupation. Her brother Edward had emigrated around 1908 and lived in Yonkers, New York where he worked, like his father, as a stonemason; other siblings also made the crossing and her sister Mary lived with her family in Elizabeth, New Jersey whilst another sister Hannah Hayes reportedly lived in Franklin, New Hampshire and sister Ellen Shea lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Julia first crossed the Atlantic in 1905, departing from Queenstown on 2 September and arriving in Manhattan aboard the Cedric on 10 September 1905; described as a 19-year-old unmarried servant from Co Kerry, she was destined to the home of her sister Ellen "Nellie" Shea of Springfield, Massachusetts. It is possible she is the same Julia Barry listed on the 1910 census as a resident of that city, working as the maid of Charles D. Haskell and his family of 24 Dartmouth Street, Springfield. She would eventually settle in New York City3

Julia had returned to Ireland in late-1910/early-1911 to help nurse her ill mother who was afflicted with a heart condition; she appeared on the snapshot of Ireland, the 1911 census, which was conducted on 2 April 1911. She and her father appeared living together at house 17 in Killeentierna. Curiously though her father, perhaps pre-empting events, described himself as a widowed mason; his wife, Julia's mother, lay dying in Killarney Union infirmary but did not pass away until a few weeks later on 21 April 1911 at age 71.
For her return to New York Julia had originally made plans to sail aboard the Celtic but switched to Titanic for a sooner crossing, writing to her brother Edward in Yonkers to inform him of the change in plan and asking him to meet her at the pier. Some days before she set off she went on a boat trip on the lakes of Killarney; she lost her parasol over the side and the boatman took this as a bad omen.

Julia boarded the Titanic in Queenstown on 11 April 1912 as a third class passenger (ticket number 330844 which cost £7, 17s, 7d). Contemporary media reported that she was travelling with five others; she had left them behind in Ireland in her haste to return to the USA4.

Julia Barry lost her life in the disaster and her body, if recovered, was never identified. Her brother Edward later travelled to the Cunard pier in the hope she was among the saved. Her sister Mary Cuffe had only learned that she was aboard when she saw her name on a list of the lost and was then contacted by her brother Edward who confirmed she was aboard.

Mrs. Thomas Cuffe, of 148 Livingston street, is prostrated with grief at her home today as a result of the loss of her sister, who perished when the waters of the Atlantic closed over the steamer Titanic. The sister, Miss Julia Barry, of 14 W thirty-second street, New York City, had Visited Mrs Cuffe many times, and she bad a large circle of friends in this city.
Elizabeth Daily Journal, 20 April 1912

Mrs Cuffe and her brother frantically searched New York hospitals in a vain attempt to locate their sister but the hunt was useless. 
Julia's father remained in Killeentierna and several months later received a reparation payment for the loss of his daughter:

White Star Line Settles Father's Claim.
Miss Julia Barry, Sister of Franklin Woman, Lost Life.
FRANKLIN, N. H., Aug 1, Mrs Hannah Hayes received word today from her father in Ireland that the White Star Line had settled a claim for the death of his daughter, Miss Julia Barry, by paying him $3000. Miss Barry lost her life in the wreck of the Titanic.
Boston Globe, 2 August 1912

Michael Barry died on 30 October 1916 and his estate, then worth £85, was administered to his daughter Abigail (Mrs John Reilly) of Creewood, Co Meath. Abigail later died in Navan, Co Meath on 2 March 1941. Her sister Mary Cuffe is believed to have remained with her family in Elizabeth, New Jersey where she died on 22 March 1925 and was buried with her husband Thomas (d. 1936) in Rosedale and Rosehill Cemetery, Linden, New Jersey. 


  1. Her appearance on the 1901 census of Ireland shows her as a 19-year-old and when she appears on the 1911 census she gives her age as 25. Born 16 October 1881, Julia was in fact 30 in April 1912.
  2. Some sources have confused two Julia Barrys; one Julia Barry (b. 29 December 1879) was the daughter of same-named parents Michael Barry and Julia, née Savage, who had married in 1871 and who had approximately four or five children. That family was from Lissanearla, Co Kerry and the breadwinner Michael was deceased by the time of the 1911 census. 
  3. Sources differ as to her New York address: one contemporary newspaper (Elizabeth Daily Journal) gives it as 14 West Thirty-Second street, New York City whilst Senan Molony (2000) gives the address as 14 West Thirty-Sixth street, New York City.
  4. The others in her party mentioned were: Elizabeth Bradley of Ireland; Katherine Butler of New York City; Mary Bresnahan of Ireland; and Edward O'Brien of New York.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Irish Independent, 5 May 1912
Noel Ray (1999) List of Passengers who Boarded RMS Titanic at Queenstown, April 11, 1912. The Irish Titanic Historical Society
Senan Molony (2000) The Irish Aboard Titanic. Wolfhound Press ISBN 0-86327-805-1
Elizabeth Daily Journal, 20 April 1912, Learns sister was lost on fated Titanic
Boston Globe, 2 August 1912

Newspaper Articles

Elizabeth Daily Journal (20 April 1912) LEARNS SISTER WAS LOST ON FATED TITANIC
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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Julia Barry
Age: 30 years 5 months and 30 days (Female)
Nationality: Irish American
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Housekeeper
Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912
Ticket No. 330844, £7 17s 7d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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